Drug Czar Wants Employers to Help Keep Kids Drug-Free

John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), this week announced the creation of a new program to encourage businesses to educate employees about youth drug prevention.

John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), this week announced the creation of a new effort called "Parents: The Anti-Drug" @Work program. The goal of the program is to encourage businesses to educate employees about youth drug prevention.

Substance abuse by family members can have a tremendous effect on a company''s bottom line due to absenteeism, turnover and decreased productivity. As part of a larger initiative to involve America''s businesses in youth drug prevention, ONDCP''s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has developed tools and materials to make it easy to distribute resources to parents where they spend so much of their time - at work.

"When family problems reach the workplace, someone pays the cost, often employers," said Walters. "Employers can make a difference in their businesses and in the lives of their employees by providing them with information on youth drug prevention. I encourage every employer to take advantage of the @Work program and the opportunity to share our resources with their employees."

A survey of human resource professionals found that employers have a bottom-line interest in contributing to drug prevention efforts. David Forman, senior vice president of the Society for Human

Resource Management (SHRM) explained, "Workplace practices that are designed to help employees cope more effectively with family and life issues can be beneficial to an organization''s bottom line. These progressive benefits are preventative in nature and can be instrumental in helping employees feel more in control, thereby reducing stress and absenteeism and increasing productivity."

A new Web page, http://www.theantidrug.com/atwork, offers employee newsletter articles, email parenting tips, posters and brochures on drug prevention formatted for easy adaptation and customization by employers. In addition, employers can call 1-800-788-2800 to obtain and distribute free materials like "Keeping Your Kids Drug-Free: A How-To Guide for Parents and Caregivers," a parenting brochure developed with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National PTA.

Companies who have already committed to the @Work program include BlueCross BlueShield, Capital One, DKNY, New York Stock Exchange, Halliburton, Mills Malls, Safeway Inc., Synapse, TMP Worldwide, Warner Reprise, and Western Wireless/ Cellular One Group.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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